One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 marks the third time Bandai Namco have blended the world of One Piece with the gameplay of the Warriors/Musou (eg. Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors, Hyrule Warriors) series. Does it manage to stand out as a stellar One Piece or Warriors title? Or is it ultimately forgettable?
If you haven’t played a Warriors game before let me give you a rundown. Warriors titles are third-person action style game were players are placed on a map and tasked with taking down hoards of enemies in order for your army to take control of more of the map. Each mission will give you a number of objectives such as taking over a base by defeating enough enemies stationed there, getting to a specific location or destroying some object(s) on the map, usually culminating with the final objective of taking out the boss of the mission. You will also have a set of “defeat” conditions, such as losing control of a particular base/station or letting a particular ally fall. The map also will contain various hidden treasures and side events that trigger during the mission. At its core, this gameplay style is initially quite fun. There is a certain satisfaction you get from taking control of more of the map & finding treasure and receiving a power rush from taking down hundreds of enemies in a single blow. However, it can get repetitive as you play through the bulk of the games content.
Combat is your standard combo-driven affair, complete with special attacks, combo attacks and a special meter that builds up allowing you to activate a hyperdrive mode of sorts. The game can evolve into a bit of a button masher because of these, especially in the easier difficulty settings. Those who take the time to learn combos and techniques will find boss fights a bit easier and will enjoy the fact characters learn new moves throughout the game, allowing them to mix up their combat style a bit. There are also RPG like elements where you can level characters up, however this can largely be ignored unless playing on tougher difficulty settings.
There are three core gameplay modes. The Legend log sees you playing through key scenes in the One Piece timeline, from beginning to end. It is worth noting that this mode very much cherry picks the best battles from the anime/manga and doesn’t do much to explain the plot to those not familiar with the source material. In contrast it also goes over plot you will have played in previous One Piece Warriors titles meaning fans of the franchise may find themselves playing through similar scenarios & battles making this mode ideal for One Piece fans who haven’t played any One Piece Warriors game in the past.
The second mode is Free log which is basically a freeplay version of the story mode where players can use any unlocked character for any of the story missions. This adds some novel replayability as it is fun taking characters in to scenarios that canonically wouldn’t make sense.
Lastly there is Dream log, which allows players to partake in “what-if” battles and situations that don’t take place in the franchises canon plot, which again makes for a fun mode for fans looking to experience some unusual scenarios.
Between the three modes, players could get dozens of hours of entertainment, especially if they seek to unlock everything as most, other than experts of the franchise are unlikely to complete every mission 100% on their first try and even if you do, experiencing each and every mission is likely to take you upwards of 20 hours.
The game also features online and local multiplayer. You can invite friends to play with you online, or send out signals for help to strangers to either just play with for fun, or perhaps help you get through some of the more difficult missions. The game does make for a fun couch game with a friend, as the core concepts are simple enough for anyone to pick up.
The most appealing aspect really is the variety in character selection. With over 30 characters from the One Piece franchise available for players to choose from, fans of the series are sure to derive some enjoyment from trying out their favourite characters abilities in what is overall, a mechanically sound combat system.
Graphically the game does a decent job of replicating the art style of One Piece in three dimensions. The textures can be a little murky, but in many ways that suits the simplistic art style of the anime. Characters are very well animated and accompanied by their Japanese voice actors making cutscenes and battle animations enjoyable to watch. However, the music in the game failed to stand out and I can’t recall a single tune outside of a handful of songs taken from the anime.
Like most Warriors games, this formula results in a fun, but repetitive game. Initially you will have a lot of fun, as the core mechanics are very sound and there is a certain satisfaction to its “tick the box” style of progression, however it is very easy to burn yourself out if you stick to button mashing and don’t’ vary up character selection. One Piece fans will get the most out of this, as the fanservice of playing as the cast of the iconic franchise is really the main draw card & the game is one of the better ways to relive the series and one of the better One Piece games on the market. People who haven’t seen One Piece and are either looking to jump in to the One Piece world or try their first Warriors title are best avoiding this & start watching the anime/read the manga or play a Dynasty Warriors game instead.
Fun combat, Great fanservice, Lots of content
Can Get Repetitive, Requires decent knowledge of One Piece to enjoy